By Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler
© 2005 All Rights Reserved
Have you ever wondered how you came to be who you are?
Why you think the way you think? Why you act the way you act?
Actually there is one source of why we act as we do ...
what we are capable of accomplishing ... and who we are. That one source is beliefs. Your beliefs are the superglue that holds your entire personality together.
A True Story
Beliefs can run very deep. They are often securely glued into our subconscious mind, and are not easily overturned. There’s a classic clinical story I still remember learning about years ago in an Abnormal Psychology course.
The true story is of a young man who suddenly believes he is dead -– a walking corpse. His exasperated parents struggle with him, and finally arrange an appointment with a highly respected New York City psychiatrist.
The psychiatrist tried his professional best to convince the young man that he was not a corpse, and that he was certainly not dead.
The two men fruitlessly argued the point back and forth. Finally the psychiatrist had an idea he was certain would convince the young man that his belief was erroneous.
The psychiatrist turned to the young man and asked, “Do you think dead people bleed?”
The young man thought about this for a moment, then
answered: “No, all body functions have stopped when you're dead. So there would be no blood flowing.”
The psychiatrist then took a needle from his desk and pricked the young man’s finger. The young man gasped and stared at his finger in amazement. “Well,” he finally stammered. “I’ll be darned. Dead people DO bleed!”
His belief was so powerful that logical evidence had no influence over it at all.
Here’s The Point
Here’s the point of this old Abnormal Psychology clinical case: Unless you are willing to take action, your beliefs can remain beyond challenge -- even in the face of undeniable evidence they are not true.
Why is this so? It’s because our beliefs have little or nothing to do with reality. They are artificially created “reality filters” built by our minds in an attempt to establish a sense of order and meaning in our personal world.
And once established, our beliefs then serve as a filter of our perceptions of the world around us.
Suppose you were told you’re clumsy since early childhood, and you have come to believe it to be true.
I’m willing to bet that if I give you a motor skills test proving you have above average coordination, you will “poo poo” the test as meaningless. Why? Because your deep subconscious belief would run right over the external evidence.
If you congruently believe something to be true, your subconscious mind will then automatically filter your perceptions of the world through that belief. In effect
-- we only experience reality through our own belief filters.
The Power of a Belief
But there’s hope. Here’s a piece of history that illustrates how exercising the courage to challenge an old belief can actually shatter the limitations of an old belief-created "reality filter."
For many years it was universally believed to be impossible for mankind to run a mile in four minutes.
The athletes of the time held this belief, and the scientific world totally agreed.
But then on May 6, 1954 -- something remarkable happened. It seems there was one man who did NOT believe it impossible to run a “four minute mile.” In fact this man firmly believed this barrier could be broken ... and that he would be the one to do so.
The name of this remarkable rebel was Roger Bannister
-- and on that fateful day he did indeed run the first historically-recorded “four minute mile.”
Bannister’s amazing victory illustrates the power of one man’s belief in his own capabilities. But it is even more interesting that just six weeks later, Australian runner John Lundy cut one second off Bannister’s record. And in the following ten years almost two hundred people also broke this so-called “impossible” barrier.
Why did this happen? Because Bannister shattered the belief that the four minute mile was impossible. And when that belief fell … the 4-minute mile suddenly became possible.
The Only Way to Change Your Beliefs
Your personal beliefs set and define the limits of what you can (and cannot) achieve in your lifetime.
If your beliefs are empowering, your “reality filter”
will present a world full of opportunities and success.
But if you are have severely limiting beliefs, your “reality filter” will present you with a lifetime filled with one disappointment, frustration and failure
after another. That’s just the way it works.
If you are not achieving what you desire in your life, there’s 100% probability the source of the problem is limiting beliefs and reality filters. And this absolutely will not just go away on its own.
There’s one way out of this dilemma -– tackle the problem head-on. There are two tools you’ll need to challenge and re-program any limiting beliefs: (1) Absolute passionate desire, and (2) intense focus. Put these to work on an old belief, and you can become your own Roger Bannister.
Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler is a best-selling author of over 20 books, and former consultant to the Pentagon and a Presidential Commission, She is known around the world for her unique S.N.A.P. personal empowerment methods.
She has just released the 10-Minute Solution -- a remarkable Self-Mentoring program for achievers. The Power of Focus is now available online.